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Coping with Kids: 911 wristwatch, fast-food calories

| Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 9:34 p.m.
A 911-GPS wristwatch allows children to instantly alert their parents and authorities the moment they are in danger.
A 911-GPS wristwatch allows children to instantly alert their parents and authorities the moment they are in danger.

Wristwatch with 911 button protects kids

A new 911-GPS wristwatch is designed to let children instantly alert their parents and authorities when they face danger. The LEO wristwatch, invented by a group of child-protection advocates and manufactured by Guardian Lion Wireless, makes it easier for kids to call 911 by pressing a panic button, as opposed to fumbling with a cell phone.

Authorities will be dispatched to the child's location. The watches are available on pre-order for $149.95.


Make birthday party a charity event

Kids may want to get toys for their birthdays, but you can also make their parties charitable events through ECHOage.

The founders of the program, Debbie Zinman and Alison Smith, met at a birthday party and came up with the idea. The ECHOage service works like this: The birthday child's family selects the present or presents they want, and chooses a charity they want to support.

When guests make reservations to attend the party, they can choose to simply make a donation. Half of the money will go toward the child's presents, and half will be donated to a nonprofit organization.


Study: Teens take in extra 300 calories per fast-food trip

A new study reinforces that eating at home is the healthier option for families.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found kids and teens consumed up to 300 calories more per trip to a fast-food or full-service restaurant, compared to days they ate at home. Over time, that can add up, contributing to the ballooning childhood-obesity epidemic.

“Parents (should) realize that restaurant consumption is not a straight-off substitute for eating at home,” study author Dr. Lisa Powell, professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health, told Reuters. “Restaurant consumption and fast-food consumption should not be the norm.”

About 12.5 million U.S. kids and teens ages 2 to 19 are obese — that's 12.5 million young Americans.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that took place from 2003 to 2008, the researchers wanted to see whether there were differences in calorie intake, diet quality and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages — namely soda — on days when kids ate at home and kids ate out.

They found that children consumed an extra 126 calories, and adolescents took in 309 calories more each trip to a fast-food restaurant, as opposed to home cooking.

Fast-food restaurants in particular tacked on an added 13 percent more sugar, 22 percent more total fat, 25 percent more saturated fat and 17 percent more sodium on teen's diets than daily recommended values.

Parenting Task Force offers resources

The Allegheny County Family Resource Guide is a comprehensive compilation of services and systems available to Allegheny County families of children ages birth to 21 with developmental delays, special health-care needs or disabilities.

There is information about and contacts for the State and Local Interagency Coordinating Council. This is a federal- and state-mandated group of parents, professionals and community members that provides feedback on public early-intervention services for children ages birth to 5 years with special needs.

Parents of school-age children and youth may want to learn more about the Local Task Force on the Right to Education. These are “state-mandated, parent-majority advocacy groups that oversee the delivery of special education in each Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania,” according to a statement, which continues with each “provides parent information and monitors special-education programs.”

The Allegheny County task force serves Allegheny County outside the city of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh task force serves Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver. Both groups offer Parent Assistance Hotlines and regular meetings.

For information, visit, or call 412-350-7079.

— Staff and wire reports

Send parenting news to Coping With Kids in care of Rebecca Killian, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212, or e-mail

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